Registration and control of fishing boats in the nineteenth century
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Controlling fishermen at sea has been a difficult problem for British and continental Governments alike. This study shows how legislation was introduced during the nineteenth century whereby a framework was created to allow the authorities to control the behaviour of individuals at sea. The goals of the study are three-fold. Firstly to identify the problems facing the fishermen and the legislators in the nineteenth century. Conflicts and depredations between fishermen at sea were common during the nineteenth century and they can be divided into certain categories. Secondly to describe in detail the practical application and working of the measures which were applied to remedy them. The system of fishing boat registration and the numbering and lettering of fishing boats was the key to any successful policing system. And thirdly, to study the detailed working of a fishing boat register. For this purpose samples were taken from the Dundee and Arbroath register to understand the system and to consider the value of the fishing boat registers as a historical resource. These registers are an under-used resource which hold much specific information about individual boats and owners; this information does not appear in the well-known Fishery Board Reports, and it can answer questions on the patterns of boat use and ownership at the individual or regional level.
Thesis, MPhil Master of Philosophy
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